Sadiq Khan is to institute a £10 charge for London's most polluting vehicles, while accelerating the planned expansion of the ultra-low emission zone

 
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Sadiq Khan made improving London's air quality a fundamental part of his mayoral campaign (Source: Getty)

Sadiq Khan has fleshed out his proposals to tackle London's air quality, including specifying new charges for drivers in environmentally unfriendly vehicles.

Khan made tacking the city's pollution a key plank of his election platform, and figures last month showed that Londoners living in the capital’s most deprived boroughs are significantly more likely to die of lung cancer, asthma and other lung diseases than those who live in more affluent parts of the capital.

And today Khan added further detail to his reforms, with a charge for the most polluting vehicles in the congestion charge zone proposed at £10.

Vehicles registered before 2005 are most likely to be hit by the charge.

At the same time, the Central London ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) is now scheduled for 2019, one year ahead of the previous timetable.

The ULEZ, launched by Khan's predecessor Boris Johnson, requires vehicles to meet exhaust standards or pay a daily charge.

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However, Conservative London Assembly member Tony Devenish questioned whether the new charges would amount to a tax on small business owners and white van drivers travelling to work.

"We all want to tackle NO2 emissions but most vehicles built after 2005 perform just as poorly as those built before so the cut-off date is meaningless," Devenish said.

"I'm in favour of constructive measures to improve London's air quality but schemes like this make it harder to undertake strategies that will genuinely lower emissions."

A public consultation will run on the proposals until 29 July, with further discussions set for later this year. City Hall hopes to begin implementing reforms from next year.

Khan announced the proposals on the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Clean Air Act.

“Just as in the 1950s, air pollution in London today is literally killing Londoners. But unlike the smoky pollution of the past, today’s pollution is a hidden killer,” he said.

“This is just a small part of the wider measures I’m consulting on to protect the health of Londoners. And I urge everyone to respond and share their views and ideas to help tackle this public health emergency.”

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